BOSTON — Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has officially been suspended by the team for the 2022-23 season. The discipline was issued by the team, not by the NBA.
The Celtics announced Thursday night that Udoka had been suspended for violations of team policies. There is no guarantee that he will return to the job after the suspension is up.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the statement said. “The suspension takes effect immediately.”
Earlier on Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — who first broke the story on Wednesday night — indicated that a season-long suspension was “likely.” Both Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Udoka had “a consensual relationship with a female staff member” that violated team rules.
Udoka also released a statement on Thursday night.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” the statement read. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Udoka, 45, joined the Celtics last summer and after navigating through some early-season turmoil, led Boston on an incredible second-half turnaround. A sub-.500 team in late January, the Celtics closed the season by winning 28 of their final 35 games to claim the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston swept Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs before beating Milwaukee and Miami in seven-game series to advance to the NBA Finals. The Celtics lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.
Boston was the favorite to win the title heading into the 2022-23 season, but the team now faces a massive change at the top. Celtics assistant Joseph Mazzulla will take over for Udoka, according to Wojnarowski. The 34-year-old native of Johnston, R.I. was the head coach at Division 2 Fairmont State before joining the Celtics coaching staff in 2019.
The Celtics will hold the team’s media day on Monday ahead of the start of training camp on Tuesday.
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